WEST CARROLLTON – Despite being rusty from a long break, the Greenville girls basketball team still found a way to beat West Carrollton 59-58 in overtime on Wednesday.
“We have not played in 19 days– and it sure looked like a team that hadn’t played in 19 days tonight.” Greenville coach Rachel Kerns said.
The team had some major rust to shake off as the Lady Wave returned to action in their first game of this new year. West Carrollton has only won a single game, but when the Pirates saw that they had a chance against Greenville after the first quarter, they redoubled their efforts to take a chance at the opportunity. To their credit the Wave awoke from their slumber and made a major team effort to get the win in the last seconds of the game.
The team had to a take an extra-long winter break as the Greenville band traveled out of state to perform at Disney. So the schedule had to be adjusted and the team had to take an extended break. And with several team members out of state, the practices were not complete.
West Carrollton zoomed out to an early lead. Greenville was not shooting well while the Pirates were on their mark as the game opened. It was 13-5 at one point, but after going to the press to take the Pirates out of their offense and Jada Garland nailing a pair of treys, Greenville was only down 2 at the end of the first quarter, 13-11, and now it was game on as Greenville began to get back into its groove.
Greenville would press sporadically throughout the game and used a man-to-man defense in the half court. The Wave briefly used a zone in the last quarter, but after the Pirates knocked down a 3-point shot they quickly changed back. The Pirates mainly stayed in a zone defense and used a number of offense sets to keep Greenville off-balance.
Pirate Erreca Liva connected on a buzzer-beating trey to knot the game up at 25-all as the teams entered the halftime break. This set the tone for the second half as the two teams exchanged leads and tied several times with neither team able to pull away from the other in regulation.
The Pirates were very aggressive in their half-court defense and quickly gave up bonus and then double bonus to Greenville in the final quarter of regulation. Saki Nakamura, Cassie Cromwell and Karsyn Shaffer all toed the free throw line in the fourth quarter and combined they were an impressive 12-of-14 from the charity stripe, which kept them in the game. So this was one part of the Greenville game that was not affected by the long winter vacation. But their efforts fell short this go-round as the Pirates scored with six seconds left to tie the game at 52-all and send it to overtime.
In the overtime, the Pirates scored first, but the Wave recovered to tie and then went ahead. Shaffer hit one free throw and Cromwell sunk both of hers for a 3-point lead. The Pirates then turned the ball over with about 30 second left. Possessions were exchanged again, and with seconds left the Pirates were able to hit a shot – but it was a 2-point shot from the field. So the Wave was able to walk out of the gym with a 59-58 overtime win.
“Tonight we had just one goal, and that was to find a way to win,” Kerns said. “Ultimately we hit our goal, but it was not a pretty as we would have liked it to be. We had more points at the end of the night, and that’s what counts. West Carrollton deserves some credit – they shot the ball well in the first half. But defensively we have to do things better than what we did. We only shot 31 percent from the field – that was not a great number. Although we shot well from the free throw line, I wish we would have hit our last two so that it was a two-possession game. We did have 22 steals, and that is a good number.
“Jada Garland hit some big shots for us early in the game to get us going. Cassie Cromwell had a good game for us; she hit some big free throws in the second half. She really wanted the ball in the post tonight. Now against Stebbins we have to do better. We can’t be 2-of-14 from the 3-point line. We have to play better defense. They will stretch out their zone against us, and we have to hit our outside shots to loosen them up. We will also have to get back fast in transition or they will score a lot of points.”
Cromwell led Greenville with 15 points. Also for the Lady Wave, Shaffer scored 9 points, Garland scored 8, Morgan Gilbert scored 8, Nakamura scored 8, and Kaylee Jackson scored 7.